Action Alerts · White House

Open Enrollment 2015 with Pres. Obama and HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell


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hhs logoPresident Barack Obama and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell will be discussing the upcoming open enrollment on Friday, November 7th at 4:00 PM ET. Open enrollment starts November 15, 2014 and ends February 15, 2015. During the open enrollment period you can enroll in a new plan, switch plans, and get subsidies.

The new Tax Penalty for 2015

If you don’t have coverage in 2015, you’ll pay the higher of these two amounts:

  • 2% of your yearly household income. (Only the amount of income above the tax filing threshold, about $10,000 for an individual, is used to calculate the penalty.) The maximum penalty is the national average premium for a bronze plan.
  • $325 per person for the year ($162.50 per child under 18). The maximum penalty per family using this method is $975.

(as compared to the tax penalty for 2014, which was 1% of your yearly household income or approx. $95 per person for the year.)

You are invited to join the discussion via conference call on Friday, November 7th at 4:00 PM ET with President Barack Obama and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell to discuss the upcoming open enrollment period for the health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act. Please note: This call is off the record and not for press purposes.

Call Details

 

 

 

 

 

White House

Vice President shout-out to LGBT community for ACA enrollment awesomeness


HealthEquity Logo

The Network for LGBT Health Equity
Keepin’ you in the loop! 
Passing on the good news! 

 

 

 

With the end of open enrollment only a few days away, Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius hosted a call yesterday thanking LGBT community centers, health centers, and organizations for their work in getting LGBT communities enrolled in the health insurance marketplace. Both spoke about the parallels between equal rights for LGBT people and equal access to healthcare, and about the significance and importance of the Affordable Care Act.

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Sebelius started off the call by reviewing the health disparities in LGBT Communities, including the higher rates of cancer and tobacco use. Biden described the initial website issues as a “tough start”, but went on to credit Sebelius with the fact that “things are now moving!” He gave a few shout-outs to Out2Enroll and the Lesbian Health Initiative, among others, and emphasized two really important points: 1. Legally married same-sex couples can now get healthcare coverage, even if same-sex marriage is not recognized in their home state. 2. NOTHING about enrolling can affect immigration status AT ALL.

Biden described access to health insurance as being about responsibility, peace of mind and security, and choice, opportunity and freedom- Taking responsibility for yourself and your health, having peace of mind (and he said that for the young folks who aren’t worried about their health, do it for peace of mind of your mothers and fathers!), and the choice, opportunity and freedom to not be stuck in dead-end jobs because of insurance, and to not have to worry that if you move to another state you will lose your insurance.

Biden closed the call by saying that the ACA is one of the “seminal changes in American policy” and encouraging a huge push of the last few days of open enrollment- either online, over the phone or in-person!

– enroll on-line at healthcare.gov

-enroll over the phone at 1-800-318-2596 (open 24 hours!)

– enroll in person by going to local help.healthcare.gov and finding a navigator at your local community center, health center or library!

 

“Healthcare is a RIGHT. The debate is over.” – Joe Biden

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“Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it really is a new day”. – Kathleen Sebelius

Funding · LGBT Policy · White House

President’s Budget Highlights LGBT Health

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Corey Prachniak is an LGBT rights, HIV policy, and healthcare attorney. He serves on the Steering Committee of the Network for LGBT Health Equity and tweets @LGBTadvocacy.

 

 

Even most casual observers know that the President’s budget proposal, released yesterday, is unlikely to become law (so much so that Senate Democrats won’t even vote on it this year).  But budgets are really just outlines, anyway – even a passed budget needs separate laws to dole out the promised money – and in this way, it’s the symbolism of budget proposals that’s most important.

So it should be comforting to those of us who care about LGBT issues to see that the White House released a fact sheet dedicated to explaining how the President’s budget helps our community.  What’s more, LGBT health (and other aspects of LGBT life that impact health) were front and center in the report.

The fact sheet has a whole section on disparities, noting that it “supports community effort to focus on prevention, including using evidence-based interventions to address tobacco control, obesity prevention, and better nutrition and physical activity.”  It also supports expanding health care services, which will hypothetically benefit all groups with health disparities, and increase data collection.  The budget also maintains funding for the Affordable Care Act and, as touted by AIDS.gov, expands access to care and housing assistance for people living with HIV.  These points cover quite a few of the health disparities that I recently outlined as plaguing the LGBT community.

What’s more, the budget addresses several types of violence that have a disproportionate effect on the LGBT community – in terms of both the physical harm that befalls individuals, and the greater social and emotional harm that afflicts LGBT people who live in a culture of violence.  (Recent research, noted on the Network’s new HuffPo LGBT Wellness page, has confirmed that just living in a community that is homophobic can take years off an LGBT person’s life, so this latter point shouldn’t be ignored.)  What are these types of violence?  Well, there’s domestic violence, which the budget addresses by funding the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a law that Republicans in Congress have attempted to keep exclusive of the LGBT community despite the high rate of domestic violence we face.  Closely related is the problem of hate crimes, which the budget addresses by providing funding for the Justice Department to prosecute offenders.

Then there are a few more social types of violence that nonetheless can have a major impact on LGBT health.  Civil rights violations and homelessness are both problems that are targeted by the budget, and are also problems that – if left unaddressed – greatly diminish the chances of LGBT people having good health.  We might not think of homelessness as a health or violence issue, but as someone who works with homeless individuals, I have personally found that it is extremely difficult for someone to stay on their medication and keep doctors’ appointments when they have nowhere to live.   And that’s to say nothing about the psychological and nutritional toll, as well as the risk of disease, exposure, and harassment one faces by having to sleep outside.  Kicking someone out of their house is a form of social and economic violence, and as many as 40% of homeless youths identify as LGBT.

Let’s face it, this budget won’t become law.  But it does show that the administration does a pretty good job of “getting it” when it comes to systemic problems that plague the LGBT community.  That’s not to say there isn’t more that we can do as a society to improve LGBT health outcomes, but it’s a good start.  And it serves as a reminder that we have to think broadly about LGBT health and dig into underlying social problems (as well as get some government funding) if we want to end disparities.

Conferences · social media · Summit · Tobacco Policy · Uncategorized · White House

We’re working toward a tobacco-free future for LGBT communities!

Here at the National LGBT Cancer Network Summit in NYC, we wanted to get in on the Surgeon General Report excitement! #SGR50photo

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Cross-posting · Feature · Presentations · social media · Staff/Program Updates · White House

Network Staff in First Agency-Wide “I AM: Trans People Speak” Video, also Great Public Health Tool

Imageby Emilia Dunham

Guest Blogger / Former Network Staff / The Fenway Institute Study Coordinator

I am very pleased to announce the release of Fenway Health’s contribution to the  “I AM: Trans People Speak” campaign, which I coordinated through my new study for young transgender women, the LifeSkills project of The Fenway Institute.

ImageIf you’re not familiar, the “I AM” project is an amazingly powerful campaign raising awareness about the diversity that exists within transgender communities. It gives a voice to transgender individuals, as well as their families, friends, and allies. In the video’s premier, I hosted at Fenway, LifeSkills Investigator Sari Reisner discusses how it is also a brilliant public health campaign.

Research shows how projects like the “I AM” videos are fantastic examples of how media campaigns are widely recognized as useful public health tools, and that focused, well-executed health media campaigns can change some health knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors. (Randolph & Viswanath, 2004) (Noar, 2006) – Sari Reisner, 11/14/2012

Demonstrating the impact of this campaign, our event listing and video were cross-posted in multiple locations including MTPC, GLAADBoston.comThe Rainbow Times and GLAAD! Even more significantly, major news outlets like CBS have picked up the campaign! A few professors and students have mentioned their plans to use in their classrooms as well. Just think about the incredible impact this campaign could have!

Making this fun, moving and theoretically informed video even better, the Network’s own Daniella Matthews-Trigg, Gustavo Torrez and *your’s truly* appear at various points in the video! As you know the Network is all about how the effects of social media can be tools for advocacy in public health, and this is a prime example that’s just in time for Transgender Awareness Week. It’s ok if you watch just to see our lovely faces, but also consider sending around to your friends, family, classmate/students and colleagues for your part in Transgender Awareness Week or make your own video after watching some on the website.

As we see how even the White House is recognizing Transgender Awareness Week, and that folks like Scout have a seat at the White House table for trans policy initiatives, it’s important to have positive public health tools like this campaign to help educate along the way.

Noar SM. (2006). A 10-year retrospective of research in health mass media campaigns: Where do we go from here? Journal of Health Communication, 11, 21-42.

Randolph W, Viswanath K. (2004). Lessons learned from public health mass media campaigns: Marketing health in a crowded media world. Annual Review of Public Health, 25, 419-437.

FDA · LGBT Policy · Minnesota · MPOWERED · Netroots Nation · Presentations · Puerto Rico · Resources · social media · Steering Committee · Summit · Technical Assistance · Tobacco Policy · White House

March Updates from the Network

March has been yet another busy month for the Network. We are pleased to announce the launch of two major projects from the Network. First, Joseph Lee of our Steering Committee is helping us launch MPOWERED best and promising 

practices review, an effort to collect lessons learned in the field of LGBT Tobacco Control. The final document will be launched at our Summit, the 8th National LGBT Health Equity Summit, in Kansas City this August. Second, at long last the Network is pleased to announce the launch of our new website www.lgbthealthequity.org. Although we are still working on the last small details, we are very pleased to have this new resource up and running for the field.

Our staff was active this month in a few different events. First, Scout attended the FDA Research Summit. At it we got one win from a prior action alert – FDA agreed to collect at least LGB (not yet T) data on their new historic NIH tobacco research project. He recaps the important aspects of the summit here: FDA Tobacco Research Meeting – Upshot & Action Needed Now!

Pakou, Sarah, and Ditra giving us the inside line

He also attended the TAPP-INTO convening of state disparity networks in Minnesota (we have a long term contract to provide tech assist to these networks). See one of the key lessons from their sustainability training here: What do funders want? Gustavo was also out training, he presented on making practices welcoming to LGBT patients at the first ever Sharing Best Practices in GLBT Health training sponsored by the Sylvie Ratelle Prevention and Training Center of Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Most recently, staff attended the FDA Tobacco Policy Center disparities listening session hosted by our friends at Legacy, with the sister tobacco control networks and partners across the country. The next day, Legacy convened the disparity groups to strategize together. Watch to see us roll out more coordinated menthol advocacy in the near future, and read about the other policy priorities here: Disparity Networks Plus.

There have been some major events this month that the Network has been promoting. First, partnering with our friends at Shift MN, we celebrated Kick Butts Day. We had two great posts from MN Youth from Shift MN showcased posts on our blog; Dangerous Swagger and Breathe… Standing Up Against Corporate Tobacco. The Network has also helped promote the Coalition’s Health Awareness Week. Most notably, we have helped spread the news on two major tobacco events: the rollout of the first national tobacco education campaign and the release of the Surgeon General’s Report on youth smoking. Also this month, the Network campaigned to help one of our bloggers, e.shor, run for and ultimately win a scholarship to Netroots Nation. The network also highlighted some world tobacco news, as Brazil announced the ban of flavored cigarettes including menthol. According to a report from the National LGBTQ Youth Adult Tobacco Project, 71%33.9% of current smokers smoke menthols and an astonishing 82.6% of African American smokers smoke menthols. In addition, a disproportionate number of Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and multiracial smokers smoke menthols compared to white smokers.
of LGBT youth who smoke cigarettes smoke mentholated cigarettes. If FDA stepped up and also banned menthol in the U.S. it is likely the single most important action that could be taken to deter youth smoking. Also, we continue to highlight local projects, like this one on David Mariner’s tobacco and HIV project, and provide policy insight on our blog, like with our post on LGBT funding announcements and our heads up on things we expect to see soon from HHS.

We are very pleased to report that one of the requests we made with our Puerto Rico allies in January’s Department of Justice meetings has already come about, FBI and DOJ officials have been deployed to Puerto Rico to conduct additional listening sessions with community members with a promise of official trainings to follow. Read more about it here.

In other notes, we also got the news our PCORI application submitted a few months ago did not get funded and we are currently seeking nominations for two new Steering Committee members. Also catch our nice rundown of last year’s accomplishments here: Highlights of Network Accomplishments Over Past Year.

Finally, you know we blog a lot, and perhaps you’ve noticed we’re also trying to get more media attention to LGBT tobacco and wellness issues. We’re happy to announce a great outgrowth of both of those efforts; Scout has become an official Huffington Post blogger! Read his first two pieces New ‘Additional Feature’ for Health Insurance Finder: Same-Sex Coverage & White House Creates a Watershed Moment for LGBT Health and be sure to watch for more.